DES MOINES, Iowa — The weather in Des Moines is frigid and it’s only getting worse. That means it’s leaving some of the city’s most vulnerable people even more at risk.
Des Moines’ homeless population is getting help from Joppa Outreach. Every week they’ll bring propane heaters or tank replacement to keep them warm.
“Every one of us is a human being, an individual, a child of God. It is up to us to take care of them,” said volunteer Jesse Moreno.
“Negative 15 degrees and laying at bed at home in the heat, and you think there’s people sleeping out there with nothing…that’s a tough thing to swallow,” said volunteer Brandon Beem.
The propane they bring isn’t just for comfort.
“That’s a life saver right there. It is so cold out here, and most people only have tents and they freeze. They bring that stuff out here and some tarps and it really helps,” said Greg Thompson, a man living in one of the camps.
Thompson says many of his peers prefer to stay outside rather than check into a shelter. Some like to be independent, while others fear their few possessions will be stolen if they leave.
“That’s happened to me here plenty of times. I’ve gotten everything completely stolen. I come back and start over again,” he said.
With temperatures expected to drop further, the volunteers from Joppa are worried about the homeless population and encourage them to seek shelter. Thompson says as long as he has propane, he’ll be OK.
“Stand up in here and you’re overheating in about three minutes. I got water, I got pop, I got everything in here,” he said of his tent.
Joppa hopes what they’re doing is enough.
“We’ve been fortunate that all of them have survived as long as I’ve been doing it, even in the bitter cold, they have survived,” said Moreno.
To donate you can head to www.joppa.org